The birth of a child is a very important milestone in a person's life. The first few weeks following the birth of a child are extremely important for bonding. Parents need time with baby to hone in on their parenting skills and create a routine. Parental leave is what makes this possible.
"The U.S. is the only developed country among 41 nations that does not offer any paid parental leave," the Pew Research Center said.
Not only is a woman pregnant, usually for about 40 weeks but she is expected to work right up until the day she gives birth. I know for myself, Human Resources for my company, told me maternity leave would start the day my baby is born.
Women are expected to carry on with life as though the million pregnancy symptoms they are dealing with are not happening. There are many emotional, psychological and physical hardships a woman faces while carrying and delivering a baby and they only continue after. Twenty five percent of women in the U.S. can only afford to take off two weeks, an article on Forbes said.
"In a country steeped in tradition that prides itself on putting the family on a pedestal, how is it possible that we don't offer mothers paid leave when they are vulnerable and need help the most," the article said.
According to an article on What to Expect, In the U.S., the Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the only federal legislation guaranteeing 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off for both parents. 90 million people are covered by FMLA, however this leaves 41 percent of Americans out. The law only applies to people at a company employing at least 50. And those employed must have worked there for at least a year, 25 hours a week. Only 13 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave. Paid parental leave is even less common among blue collar employees and only five percent of part time workers have access to parental leave, the article said.
For most Americans, paternity leave is unpaid or a combination of vacation and sick leave. Most fathers say they are only able or comfortable with taking off two weeks, the article said.
If companies mandated equal parental leave It would help minimize the "motherhood penalty." Men are sometimes hesitant to take parental leave because of stigma, fear or being penalized at their job, but making it mandatory will help stop all this and make it the new norm, an article from Forbes said.
There should be no crime or shame in taking time to bond with your newborn. There's a lot that happens the first few weeks while home with baby. Learning how to manage it all is stressful enough without worrying about work too. Raising a child is no longer a "woman's job." A baby needs both parents and men should not be shamed for wanting to be there too.